Summary: 11th in the series "Conversations With Jesus." At the trial of Jesus, the question of his real identity seems to be one everyone’s mind.
CSI Theme song "Who Are You" normally on the show "who are You" refers to the perpetrator, but sometimes it refers to the victim, this morning as we look at our Scripture text the crime has not yet occured--Jesus is about to be unjustly killed, but the question "who are you seems to be on evewryone’s minds.
Because this question is still vitally important for us today I’d like to look at the various answers that the people in the story considered, Just like those other Crime Scene Investigators, it’s a quest for the truth--as Jesus Himself said in verse 37 He came to testify to the truth. If you haven’t yet discovered the truth I hope that our journey this morning will reveal to you the truth that will change your life.
Transition: .Let’s begin with the Roman official Pilate. To him it seems that Jesus is nothing more than a...
18:33-35 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
34"Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?"
35"Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?"
Jesus has been brought to Pilate because the religious leaders want to have him executed before he can upset the delicate balance in their relationship with the Romans. They can’t execute him themselves because the Status of Forces agreement prohibits it.
Pilate begins with that leading question, "Are you the king of the Jews" Jesus doesn’t bite. "Are you really wanting to know? Is that your own question or one that you were given to ask?"
Pilate decides that there’s no reason to execute Jesus, but because the crowd is so insistent He relents and lets them have what the want. Not real big on justice, just keeping the peace. Jesus didn’t really matter to him more than just a passing curiosity.
Many people today have a similar way of dealing with Jesus. He’s an interesting character to study but that’s about it. As an army chaplain I can’t begin to tell you the number of people I’ve spoken with or counseled who have said "Oh yes, I’ve read the Bible" or "Yeah, I’ve read the Bible and studied Christianity and Buddhism and Islam, I think all the religions have somethng to offer" People who are content to look at Jesus as a curiosity, but like Pilate when the critical question of "What are you going to do with Jesus?" is raised they cop out.
The second answer to the question of Jesus’ identity is seen in the first few verses of chapter 19. The Roman soldiers who take custody of Jesus see him as a...
1-3 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face.
I imagine that people who had the job description that these Roman soldiers did probably became pretty callused. Here they’ve been handed a man, a peasant, aleady bound, already roughly treated by the Jewish leaders, clearly a humble man and they’re told that he’s here because he claimed to be a king. Here’s an opportunity for entertainment. They make him a crown of thorns to wear, and outfit him with a royal robe as they mock him over and over.
And still today there are those who mock him. Who use his name to curse, who laugh at holy things and chuckle to think anyone could believe that a carpenter could be a king--more than a king, a God, who could pay the price for sin and offer eternal life.
It’s easier to join in the laughter and drown out the nagging voice of guilt and conviction for our sins, but the laughter is desperate laughter because each human soul understands without being told that there’s a price to be paid for sin, and when the story of Jesus is told, the story of the one who died for our sins and rose again to offer new life to those who trust in Him, something within even the most calloused heart begins to stir, something that can be quieted only by surrender or by laughing it away.
The third answer to the question about Jesus identity is the one that the people of Jerusalem had hoped would be true, they wanted Jesus to be a...
18:38b-40 [Pilate] went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him. 39But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ’the king of the Jews’?"